Creswell (KMTR) - The future of the Creswell Airport, also known as Hobby Field, is up in the air. The Creswell City Council is weighing its options as it faces some sky-high legal fees. It could all mean closing the airport altogether.
The city’s big legal fees are a result of an FAA complaint made by Eugene Skydivers owner Urban Moore. Moore claims the city is discriminating against his company. His airplanes, which carry skydivers, are allowed to take off and land at the airport but they now have to drop skydivers at a site 8 miles away rather than on the airport property. The city withdrew its permission for skydivers to land at the airport after 12 years of allowing it.
City Administrator Mark Shrives released a statement saying, “An independent study showed that there is no safe skydiver landing zone within the city. Under FAA rules, the city isn't obligated to provide landing zones for private citizens.”
But, Moore says the decision is not up to City of Creswell.
“Yes, I feel that they're uncomfortable with it, but it's not their call and that's what the Part 16* is about,” said Moore. “The FAA has told the city on numerous occasions that sky diving can be accommodated at the Creswell Airport as long as there are some mitigating procedures put into place.”
At its Tuesday night meeting the Creswell City Council decided not to compromise with Eugene Skydivers and approved $100,000 to continue its fight against the lawsuit.
The airport will stay open for the time being.
*(Part 16 is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) "Rules of Practice for Federally-Assisted Airport Enforcement Proceedings." Part 16 contains the rules for filing complaints and adjudicating compliance matters involving Federally-assisted airports.)